Are You Guilty of Ghosting Your Candidates?

January 29, 2019 By: Dave Rietsema
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“Ghosting” is a term that is relatively recent in its coinage, but ancient in practice. You’ve likely heard the term, but to be clear on its meaning: disappearing from communication transactions, ignoring phones calls and messages. People ghost others to avoid unpleasant conversations and conflicts.

Ghosting is most often heard about in the dating world, when a person stops responding to texts or emails. However, many companies tend to do this during the hiring process.

Candidate Frustrations

Submitting a job application or resume can be a nerve-wracking experience. People generally submit job applications when they are out of work or ready to leave their current jobs. In any case, applicants want to hear back quickly so that they can either move forward in your hiring process or move forward in their job search and explore other options.

The more a candidate likes your company, the more likely to be disappointed by not hearing back about a resume. The longer the silence continues, the more the frustration may build.

Ghosting and Company Image

Candidates and customers are no longer completely separate entities. Often, candidates apply to a company because they are loyal customers and want to be a part of a brand or business that they love. This means that ghosting candidates can damage a brand’s reputation.

When a candidate feels shunned or frustrated by a company, they may begin to reconsider the way they feel about the company. With social media and review sites a click away, the ill feelings can quickly become widespread. This type of bad publicity can turn customers away and make other potential applicants change their minds about applying.

Creating Respectful Communications

Making the decision to stop ghosting candidates is a simple matter of committing to respectful communications. Figure out a reasonable amount of time to respond to every candidate and hold the hiring team accountable for sticking to it. The response can be as simple as checking in; no decisions have to be made at the time of the first response.

Using Technology to Assist

Technology can be helpful when it comes to creating respectful communications with candidates. Some applicant tracking system (ATS) software assists you with creating automated responses to let candidates know that their application or resume has been received. Templates can also be set up and used for next phase communications.

In some cases, artificial intelligence can come in handy when it comes to communications. More sophisticated systems may schedule interviews and interact with candidates directly, answering basic questions. This can save HR professionals and hiring team members time, while maintaining communication with candidates.

Human Touch

Technology can be helpful, but shouldn’t be the only communication line for candidates. Candidates can tell the difference between canned responses and personalized ones. An actual person should check in with candidates at least once during the initial communications to make sure that everything is clear and the experience is pleasant.

Honesty as a Policy

Even if you are going to pass over a candidate, that candidate should be treated respectfully for applying. Sending a simple message saying that the position has been filled, they didn’t quite fit the position, or another brief reason can give a candidate insight while allowing them to move on. Being honest and respectful can save the relationship, potentially keeping that candidate available for better fitting open positions in the future and keeping them as a customer.

If ATS software could help you improve candidate communications, check out our vendor matching services.


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